Monday, November 05, 2007

Andrew Sullivan on Obama

"Goodbye To All That," at The Atlantic.

Kinda interesting...I'm sort of sympathetic to the conclusion, but many of the arguments don't seem particularly strong. Still, of possible interest.

[via Metafilter]


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Many good points. Many good points. However, it still emphasizes form over substance. This is a mistake, in my view.

Unlike Bill Clinton, Obama is a gentleman of the left, not the center.

"During his two years in the Senate, Obama has been among its more liberal members. In the 152 Senate votes that were used in NJ's ratings in 2005 and 2006, he voted against the liberal position only 12 times. Many of those votes dealt with national security issues or presidential nominations. Perhaps his most high-profile split with liberal orthodoxy came on the second vote that he cast in the Senate, to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of State; 13 Democrats opposed her nomination. Obama sided with conservatives three times on Bush's judicial nominees: He voted in 2005 for cloture on Priscilla Owen and to confirm Thomas Griffith, and in 2006 for cloture on Brett Kavanaugh.

Obama has sided with conservatives on several anti-terrorism issues, including a vote authorizing the construction of a new prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and two early-2006 votes on extending the USA PATRIOT Act. And he parted company with Senate liberals on three foreign-policy votes last year by opposing a requirement that Bush withdraw all troops from Iraq by July 2007, and by supporting a free-trade agreement with Oman and a nuclear energy agreement with India.

Obama split with liberals on only two economic votes, both in 2005: He voted to give the federal courts jurisdiction over most class-action lawsuits, and he backed the energy bill conference report. In 2006, he was one of 13 Senate Democrats with a perfect liberal score on economic issues. Obama's 12 conservative votes in the 2005-2006 ratings included four on which Clinton sided with the liberals: She voted against class-action lawsuit reform, the energy bill, the Griffith nomination, and cloture on Kavanaugh.

Although Obama's "lifetime average" composite score in NJ's vote ratings is the most liberal of the current presidential candidates who serve in Congress, the results give him some evidence to assert that he has not been an ideologue. Fifteen senators were more liberal than him in 2005, and nine were more liberal than him in 2006. In each case, the more liberal senators included Obama's home-state colleague, Richard Durbin, the Democratic whip."

TVD: To the right of Dick Durbin? That's pretty weak tea. In my view, if the conciliatory Obama were to HRC's right, he'd have a more legitimate shot, as not all Democrats are leftists, and---Media Matters' sophistries notwithstanding---neither is the nation. [Bill, for instance, would whip her or anyone else's hide.]

BTW, John McCain comes out in the top 10 of GOP moderates in the Senate. Unfortunately, this will be weak tea for many, because as Howard Dean points out, Democrats are good and Republicans are evil.

There is no such thing as moderate evil, so the left rejects him, and Republicans reject him because he's not evil enough.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I think Obama owes Sullivan a consultant's fee.

5:14 PM  

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